New Zealand has successfully positioned itself on the world stage as a premium wine producing country, doubling its exports in the last ten years to be worth $2 billion dollars.

Now we are well on our way to establishing the same kind of reputation with our tech industry – but on a much bigger scale – with the industry set to become the country’s biggest export, worth $16 billion by 2030.

Fintech, healthtech, IT services, and agritech are some of our well-known tech exports – but there’s another sector operating behind the scenes that is also growing quickly: security technology. 

The sector has two other major advantages coming from this end of the world.

Firstly, industry players are able to leverage New Zealand’s membership of the Five Eyes network (along with the US, UK, Australia and Canada) to boost their brand.

Secondly, the classic Kiwi approach of thinking outside the box enables startups to find unique solutions.

This sort of expertise on our doorstep provides a huge opportunity for New Zealand businesses to embrace solutions that are gaining traction overseas.

Given the number of recent cyber security incidents on our doorstep, it appears that cyber security is likely an area of under prioritisation in New Zealand.

The US, UK, Australian government cyber security agencies recently issued a joint statement, acknowledging that “cyber actors continue to exploit publicly known – and often dated – software vulnerabilities.”

Kiwi companies are better off targeting the security issues they know about, and if they don’t know what these are, urgency is required.

Businesses rely on online systems to manage customer interactions and data, and run their operations – so their leaders need to be aware of and effectively manage their cyber risk.

What questions should company CEOs and Board Directors be asking their IT leaders to ensure that they are effectively managing their cyber risk?

  1. What systems do you rely on to do business? How effectively is the security of these systems being managed?
  2. What external validation do you have in place to understand and measure our exposure and the effectiveness of our security programs?
  3. What are the known risks within our organisation? Have we set the right risk appetite for cyber risk when compared to other types of business risk? Are we investing the right amounts? Are our investments effective?
  4. What if something goes wrong? How would you respond? Who would you call? How would you make decisions? Have you/should you fire drill your response?

As cyber crime continues to become more sophisticated, New Zealand businesses have a great opportunity to become proactive in managing cyber risk by taking advantage of its home-grown, world-leading cyber defence systems valued so highly overseas.

Fabian Partigliani is CEO of RedShield, Chairman of plant based food company Smartfoods and Director of Auckland Unlimited, Auckland’s economic and cultural agency. He has more than two decades of experience as a global CEO, with blue-chip multinational companies in Europe, South America and Asia Pacific. He has held executive and non-executive director positions in management, strategy and marketing.

RedShield fixes and secures your web applications, so you can get on with business. RedShield offers a free web application security assessment to give business leaders actionable insights on their application security risk. Request yours now.